“Don't scream, it wasn't that bad!” “That’s nothing to get angry about.” “What is it THIS time?!” The most we have taught our kids about anger is how to remove it. Push it aside and preferably exchange it for another (opposite) feeling.
We know better now. All over the place it is spoken of accepting our kids’ emotions. To allow them.
That is of course wonderful. But as with so many other topics surrounding kids, this time there is something opposing this nice image of acceptance. Because in many ways we still want to shove those emotions where they belong. Who has the time to patiently accept a furious 5-year-old in the hallway at 7 in the morning?
We speak of feeling freely but want to wrap emotions in small packages to unwrap at appropriate moments. We want them, but preferably scheduled.
Historically, we (more) often used words as “nice” about newborns. “They sleep so well- a nice baby”. What they most likely meant was “docile” and “conformable” but applied a good characteristic to it – which also brought life to the fact that there is a contrary characteristic to that (even though it was not spoken of openly). Such as “mean”. (And being mean is never desirable)
Even the saying “being good” has been used in similar ways. In situations where neither parent nor kids have been able to affect the circumstances, people label them with a valuing word that implies there is a contrary – something bad.
This is set firmly in us. Despite knowing the importance of feeling all emotions, understanding that babies are not “nice” if they happen to sleep through the night and realize that “being good” is a saying that most often limits rather than lifts... we seem intent (to different extents) to continue in the same patterns as older generations. We (mostly) ourselves are brought up that way and it is comfortable. It suits our lifestyle.
Such a confusing time we live in, or so it can often feel. Therefore, I will end this week's post with a couple of questions: Can we live the fully-booked lives many of us live today and still allow our kids to explore all emotions? Does that require too much of us – is it possible to have both worlds or does the modern lifestyle require (to some extent) that our children are docile?